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03: Finding your Minimum Effective Dose of THC, How to NOT get High with Cannabis Series

 June 11, 2020  Written by David Melnick
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In today’s episode of “How to NOT get high with cannabis,” we’re exploring how to find your minimum effective dose of THC. 

Would you be surprised to learn that the phyto-cannabinoid THC is almost identical to one of our bodies’ own endo-cannabinoids, anandamide? In fact, anandamide has been nicknamed “the bliss molecule”! 

This means that if your body isn’t getting enough of this particular endocannabinoid, supplementing with THC, to a certain point, won’t make you feel “high” — it will just meet your deficiency. 

So how do you find your minimum effective dose? 

The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different. What works best for me may not work at all for you. 

Also keep in mind that your minimum effective dose can change dependent on your endocannabinoid tone each day. Endocannabinoid tone refers to the overall health of this system, which is impacted not only by how many endocannabinoids your body is producing, but also how quickly your body is breaking those cannabinoids down and how many receptors you have available to receive those cannabinoids. 

Your endocannabinoid tone is dependent on many things:  

  1. It’s impacted by our diet: your body creates endocannabinoids from a balanced ratio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids 
  2. It’s impacted by our level of exercise: exercise, such as yoga, boosts endocannabinoid production 
  3. It’s impacted by our stress levels: by staying in a chronic state of stress, our endocannabinoid system can’t keep up with re-balancing our bodies 
  4. And as women, our endocannabinoids levels can change with our menstrual cycles, as they are strongly linked to estrogen levels. This means that at some points in your cycle, your MED may be higher or lower than usual. 

When using THC, always start low and go slow 

This is a general rule of thumb for using cannabis any time, but it’s especially important if you’re looking for your MED without a “high.” You can always add more THC, so don’t be in a hurry.  

Now, it’s important to know that cannabis has a biphasic dosing response curve.

This means that the effectiveness of cannabis increases to a certain point, then past that point, it decreases in its effectiveness. This is when unwanted side-effects can occur, such as short-term memory loss, paranoia, dry mouth, etc. 

Note: If you’re someone who sometimes enjoys getting “high” in the right setting, know that using THC past this peak point can actually cause your endocannabinoid system to get thrown out of balance. Because your endocannabinoid system is seeing plenty of cannabinoids, it may stop producing its own or even turn off your receptors in an effort to keep your system in balance. Over time, this can end up doing you more harm than good. 

Your starting dose will depend on the way you are consuming your THC  

When ingesting THC, you’ll want to start with between 1-2.5mg, depending on your experience and comfortability. Because THC is intensified when eaten and can take several hours to become effective, it’s really important to be careful when re-dosing.

For the first few times you try THC, wait at least 24 hours before trying another dose, increasing by 1mg each time until you get the desired effects. Once you get comfortable with how THC affects you, you can slowly increase your dose by 1mg in 2-4 hour increments to get your desired effects, allowing you to adapt your dose from day to day based on the support your body is needing. 

Smoking and vaporizing THC is trickier because it’s difficult to control the dose, but our friend Emma Chasen has a few tips: 

  • Inhale no longer than 2 seconds on any kind of piece — pipe, bubbler, or vaporizer — and immediately exhale 
  • Wait at least 10 minutes before taking another inhale 
  • Repeat this process until you arrive at the desired experience  

For more tips on microdosing, click here

When experimenting with THC, always remember to do so in a safe and supportive environment in case you do over-medicate. Click here for some tips on how to create an enjoyable cannabis experience! 

Final Tips

Finally, be sure to keep track of what medicine you’re using, the dose, and how it impacted you so that you can recreate or avoid experiences in the future. Check out Hempsley’s Session Journal created in collaboration with 420 Science as a fun tool for getting started — and it’s only $4.20! 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This all seems tedious. Unfortunately, the best things in life always take time, and if you think about it, really any medication works this way: you try it, observe how it affects you, then adjust accordingly. 

Just start low and take it slow, and you’ll be using THC like a pro in no time! 

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to us at  

And if you’re looking for more tips on how to NOT get high with cannabis, click here to check out more from this video series.

Want to take this information with you, or share it with a friend? Click here to download our FREE printable Handout!

Disclaimer: The information presented here is meant for educational purposes only. Medical decisions should not be made based on advertising. Consult a physician on the benefits and risks of specific medical products.

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